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High Work - A Brief Guide to the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (GUIDANCE)

(September 2005)

 

Contents

  1. Using this Information
  2. Why are these Rules so Important?
  3. What is 'Work at Height'?
  4. What do the Schedules to the Regulations Cover?
  5. Do the Rules Apply to You?
  6. Action by the University
  1.   Actions by Duty Holder
  1. Further Information

Using this Information

This guidance summarizes what you need to do to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. You can also find more information on this subject at the Health and Safety Executive website at the following address:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/

This guide has been written so that in most cases it can be used without access to the Regulations. If you have, however, any questions about this subject you should contact the Director of Environmental, Health and Safety Services.

Why are these rules so important?

These Regulations have been made to prevent the deaths and injuries caused each year by falls at work.

They replace all earlier regulations about working at height. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 consolidate previous legislation on working at height and implement European Council Directive 2001/45/EC concerning minimum safety and health requirements for the use of equipment for work at height.

What is 'Work at Height' ?

Regulation 2

A place is 'at height' if (unless these regulations are followed) a person could be injured falling from it, even if it is at or below ground level.

Any work at height using equipment e.g.

  • Work with MEWP, tower scaffold, ladder, kick stool,
  • Work on a roof, vehicle, machine, plant, fabrication, tree, telegraph pole.
  • Work next to an excavation, cellar opening,
  • Work with harnesses, rope access and cradles.

What do the Schedules to the Regulations Cover?

They cover the detailed requirements for:
Schedule
1. Existing places of work and means of access for work at height

1

2. Collective fall prevention (e.g. guard rails and toe boards)
2
3. Working platforms

3

4. Collective fall arrest (e.g. nets and bags)

4

5. Personal fall protection (e.g. work restraints, work positioning, fall arrest equipment and rope access)
5
6. Ladders and stepladders
6
7. Inspection reports
7
8. Revocations
8

 

Do the rules apply to you ?

Regulations 3 and 14.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. They place duties on the University and any person who controls the work of others (e.g. Heads of Schools/Units) to the extent that they control the work.

The Regulations do not apply to the provision of paid instruction or leadership in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation team building or similar activities.

If you are a member of staff working under someone else's control, Regulation 14 says you must:

  • Report any safety hazard to them;
  • Use the equipment supplied (including safety devices) properly, following any training and instruction (unless you think that would be unsafe, in which case you should seek further instructions before continuing).

Action by the University

Overriding Principle

Regulation 6(3)

The University must do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anyone falling.

The Regulations Hierarchy

The Regulations set out a simple hierarchy for managing and selecting equipment for work at height.

Duty holders must:

  • Avoid work at height where they can.
  • Use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height.
  • Where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall if one should occur.

Actions by Duty Holder (Heads of Schools/Units)

Duty Holder's Responsibilities

The regulations require duty holders to ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised;
  • All outdoor work at height takes account of weather conditions that could endanger health and safety;
  • Those involved in work at height are trained and competent;
  • The place where work at height is done is safe;
  • Equipment for work at height is appropriately inspected;
  • The risk from fragile surfaces are properly controlled; and
  • The risks from falling objects are properly controlled.

Planning

Regulations 4 and 6 (1,2)

The Duty Holder must:

  • Ensure that no work is done at height if it is safe and reasonably practicable to do it other than at height;
  • Ensure that work is properly planned , appropriately supervised and carried out in as safe a way as reasonably practicable;
  • Plan for emergencies and rescue;
  • Take account of the risk assessment carried out under Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Weather

Regulation 4 (3,4)

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that the work is postponed while weather conditions endanger health or safety (but this does not apply to emergency services in an emergency).

Staff Training

Regulations 5 and 6 (5)(b)

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that everyone involved in the work is competent (or, if being trained, is supervised by a competent person). This includes involvement in organisation, planning, supervision and the supply and maintenance of equipment.

Where other precautions do not entirely eliminate the risk of a fall occurring, the 'Duty Holder' must (as far as reasonably practicable to do so) ensure that appropriate training is provided to those who will be working at height.

The place where the work is done

Regulation 6(4)

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that the place where work is done at height (including the means of access) is safe and has features to prevent a fall, unless this would mean that it is not reasonably practicable for the worker to carry out the work safely (taking into account the demands of the task, equipment and work environment). Detailed safety requirements about where work is done at height are set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations.

Equipment, temporary structures and safety features

Regulations 6(4)(b), 6(5)(a, b), 7, 8 and 12.

If the place of work cannot be made safe then the 'Duty Holder' must must ensure that appropriate equipment is provided for preventing (as far as reasonably practicable) a fall occurring.

If the place cannot be made safe or if appropriate equipment does not entirely eliminate the risk of a fall occurring, the Duty Holder' must do all that is reasonably practicable to minimise the distance and effect of the fall.

When selecting equipment for work at height the 'Duty Holder' must:

  • Choose the most suitable equipment;
  • Give collective protection measures (e.g. guard rails) priority over personal protection measures (e.g. safety harnesses);
  • Take account of:

    - the weather conditions; and

    - risks to the safety of all those at the place where the work equipment is to be used.

You must ensure that all equipment, temporary structures (e.g. scaffolding) and safety features comply with the detailed requirements of Schedules 2 to 6.

Inspections

Regulations 12 and 13

'Inspection is defined by Regulation 12(10) as 'such visual or more rigorous inspection by a competent person as is appropriate for safety purposes ...... (including) any testing appropriate for those purposes'.

As 'Duty Holder' you must ensure (as far as reasonably practicable to do so) that each individual place at which work is to be done at height is checked on every occasion before that place is used.

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that any item mentioned in Schedules 2 to 6 is inspected:

  • After it is assembled or installed (or after it has been assembled and installed if both are required), if its safety depends on how it is assembled or installed;
  • As often as is necessary to ensure safety, and in particular to make sure that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that before any equipment which has come from another business is used, and before any equipment leaves your School/Unit it is accompanied by an indication (clear to everyone involved) that the last inspection required by these regulations has been carried out.

NOTE: This does not apply to lifting equipment governed by Regulation 9(4) of the Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations 1998, but since that rule is similar to this one there is little practical difference.

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that any platform used for (or for access to) construction work and from which a person could fall more than 2 metres is inspected in place before use (and not more than seven days before use). Where there is a mobile platform, inspection at the site is sufficient without re-inspection every time it is moved.

NOTE: 'Construction Work' is defined in detail in Regulation 2(1) of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 but broadly means 'the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work'.

'Platform' is widely defined by Regulation 2 to include areas like gangways and stairways.

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that the person inspecting the platform:

  • Prepares a report before going off duty, giving the details listed in Schedule 7;
  • Gives the report (or a copy) within 24 hours of completing the inspection to the person for whom the inspection was done (e.g. your site manager).

The 'Duty Holder' must keep the report of a platform inspection made under the instructions given above:

  • At the construction site until the work is completed;
  • At the Duty Holder's office for three months.

'Keeping' a report means keeping it (or a copy) safe from loss and unauthorised interference, and so that a printed copy can be supplied when required.

The 'Duty Holder' must keep all other records of inspection until the next inspection has been carried out.

These regulations do not apply to lifting equipment governed by the similar rules imposed by Regulations 9 and 10 of the Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations 1998.

Fragile Surfaces

Regulation 9

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that no one working under your control goes onto or near a fragile surface unless that is the only reasonably practicable way for the worker to carry out the work safely, having regard to the demands of the task, equipment or working environment.

If anyone does work on or near a fragile surface the 'Duty Holder' must:

  • Ensure (so far as it is reasonably practicable to do so) that suitable platforms, coverings, guard rails and the like are provided (and used) to minimise the risk;
  • Do all that is reasonably practicable, if any risk of a fall remains, to minimise the distance and effect of the fall.

If anyone working under the control of the 'Duty Holder' may go onto or near a fragile surface, the 'Duty Holder' must do all that is reasonably practicable to make them aware of the danger, preferably by prominent warning notices fixed to the approaches to the danger zone.

Falling Objects

Regulations 10 and 11

Where it is necessary to prevent injury, the 'Duty Holder' must do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent anything falling.

If it is not reasonably practicable, the 'Duty Holder' must ensure that no one is injured by anything falling.

The 'Duty Holder' must ensure that nothing is:

  • Thrown or tipped from height if it is likely to injure anyone;
  • Stored in such a way that its movement is likely to injure anyone.

If the workplace contains an area in which there is a risk of someone being struck by a falling object or person, the 'Duty Holder' must ensure that the area is clearly indicated and that (as far as reasonably practicable) unauthorised people are unable to reach it.

Further Information

For further information about any item in this guidance, please contact the Director of Environmental, Health and Safety Services.

Legislation - Work at Height Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/735) (Available online at: www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20050735.htm)

Website - HSE's Falls from Height website - www.hse.gov.uk/falls

Contact

Environmental Health and Safety Services contact details

University of St Andrews
Bute Building Queens Terrace
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9TS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462750
Fax:44 (0)1334 462747